Heartland Institute

Neil deGrasse Tyson Laments Climate Science Denial But Billionaire Deniers Fund His Museum

Neil deGrasse Tyson

There’s no real way to scientifically establish just how cool, adored, or respected a person is among certain groups.

But a good start might include the number of t-shirts with the person's face on them, the frequency of memes created with their quotes, or the amount of coffee drunk from mugs bearing their likeness.

On all these important and absolutely non-trivial measures, the astrophysicist, author, and educator Neil deGrasse Tyson looks to be winning.

Tyson is an American superstar of science communication. When primetime networks go looking for an articulate and respected scientist who can speak to the masses, Tyson is a go-to guy.

A few days ahead of the historic March for Science, Tyson released a four-minute video he said contained “what may be the most important words I have ever spoken.”

Conservative Groups Pushing Trump To Exit Paris Climate Deal Have Taken Millions From Koch Brothers, Exxon

The “conservative groups” urging President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement have accepted tens of millions of dollars from groups linked to the billionaire petrochemical brothers Charles and David Koch, ExxonMobil, and the Mercer family.

More than 40 groups have co-signed an open letter urging Trump to keep his campaign promise and “withdraw fully from the Paris Climate Treaty.”

The groups, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), The Heartland Institute, and the Heritage Foundation, claim failing to withdraw from the treaty could put Trump’s policy agenda of promoting fossil fuels at risk.

Trump Kingmakers Rebekah and Robert Mercer Attended Heartland Institute's Climate Science Denial Conference

Standing in front of a crowd of influential climate science deniers and conspiracy theorists, Myron Ebell was in a triumphant mood.

It’s the people who have worked persistently against global warming alarmism that made this election possible,” said Ebell, referring to the election of Donald J. Trump as president.

Ebell was handpicked by Trump to lead the “transition team” at the United States Environmental Protection Agency and was one of a parade of speakers at the Heartland Institute’s conference in Washington, D.C. last week that included Republican Congressman Lamar Smith, chair of the House science committee.

But arguably the most influential people hanging around the ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Hotel were billionaire hedge fund manager Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah.

Heartland Institute Award Winner Compares Work of Climate Science Deniers to 9/11 Firefighters

Scott Armstrong

An award winner at a flagship conference for climate science deniers has compared their work to the heroics of firefighters during the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York.

Greeted with applause, the statement was made by University of Pennsylvania marketing professor Scott Armstrong at the end of day one of the Heartland Institute’s meeting in Washington, D.C.

How a Libertarian Think Tank Is Trying to Correct the 'Degenerate' Climate Science Debate in Washington, DC

U.S. Capitol Building

There are lots of attributes that seem to work as reliable predictors that a person or group will reject the science of human-caused climate change and the risks that come from it.

In recent years, for example, being a Republican or a Tea Party member has gone hand in hand with branding the science of climate change as a giant scam.

If you’re one of those conspiracy theorists like Britain’s David Icke or Infowars founder (and apparent President Trump influencer) Alex Jones, then you’ll also be placing climate change into the file marked “illuminati hoax.”

But perhaps the largest, most active, and influential group pushing climate science denial is America’s collective of so-called free-market conservative “think tanks” that want to cut the size of government and claim to be defending your freedom and liberty — examples include the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Heartland Institute, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Why Is 'Rosie the Riveter' Being Appropriated for a War Against Climate Science?

J. Howard Miller's We Can Do It! poster that became known as Rosie the Riveter

Her image is iconic — red polka dot bandanna around her hair, blue sleeve rolled back, exposed bicep curled in a show of strength, a speech bubble declaring, “We Can Do It!”

We know her today as “Rosie the Riveter,” and she’s shown up on t-shirts, coffee cups, oven mitts, bobble-head dolls, and now, even a quarterly report of the fossil fuel industry–funded think tank, the Heartland Institute.

In its report, the Heartland Institute — infamous for its offensive 2012 billboard depicting the Unabomber as a “believer” in global warming — displays the image of Rosie over the slogan “Winning the Global Warming War.” It sits atop an article by Joseph L. Bast, Heartland's president, issuing a call to arms for “free-market advocates” against global warming. While Bast’s litany of commonly debunked arguments against the science and threat of climate change isn’t notable, Heartland’s choice of imagery is proving to be.

To me, it seems like an obscene appropriation of feminist iconography, and I find it, frankly, offensive,” Sarah Myhre, University of Washington ocean and climate scientist, told DeSmog. “And I looked for a mention of women or women’s lives and there’s no mention of women in the article whatsoever.”

Why Is the Exxon-Funded Heartland Institute Now Calling Oil Trains “Dangerously Flammable”?

Derailed oil train cars still smoking after the fire in Mount Carbon, West Virginia

When President Donald Trump signed executive orders pushing for the approval and expedited review of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, an oil industry-funded think tank put out an interesting comment supporting the move in a press release:

I believe that Canada is the largest supplier of foreign oil to the United States,” said Christopher Essex at the University of Western Ontario, on behalf of the climate change–denying Heartland Institute. “It gets there in part via huge dirty dangerously flammable trains of oil-bearing tank cars.”  

But why was Heartland, which has received large amounts of funding from ExxonMobil, championing oil pipelines while highlighting the risks of oil trains? 

Exclusive: Climate Science Denial Group Heartland Institute is "Reaching Out" to Fossil Fuel Industry for Funding

Fred Palmer

One of the world’s most notorious climate science denial groups is “reaching out to the fossil fuel community” to raise cash in the wake of President Donald Trump’s election.

Coal industry veteran and new Heartland Institute senior fellow Fred Palmer believes the election of Donald Trump will transform the energy industry in the United States by leaving the science of climate change behind.

And in a wide-ranging interview with DeSmog, Palmer claimed there was nothing wrong with fossil fuel companies secretly funding groups that push climate science denial.

I am reaching out to the fossil fuel community right now and raising money for Heartland,” he said.  “Of course that’s acceptable.”

“God Bless Trump”: 25 Years Ago This Man Kick Started the First Fossil Fuel–Funded Campaigns to Attack Climate Science

Fred Palmer

In July 1988, on page 11 of Sports Illustrated magazine, one story caught the eye of Fred Palmer.

Under the headline “The Foul, Hot Summer,” the article lamented that year’s scorching heat and drought.

We have only ourselves to blame for this midsummer's nightmare. Burning fossil fuels has created many of these environmental ills,” the story read.

Palmer was worried. As the boss of Western Fuels Association (WFA), a co-op of coal power generators and haulers, this self-confessed “prairie populist” could see the writing on the wall for his industry.

Fred Palmer

Fred Palmer

Credentials

  • Palmer earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1966 and Juris Doctorate with honors in 1969 from the University of Arizona. [1]

Background

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